- Multiple states including California, Florida, Colorado and more, are offering lottery & sweepstakes incentive programs for COVID-19 vaccine recipients but scammers are taking advantage of the eager consumers.
- Scammers are posing as government officials and informing vaccine recipients they have won a lottery and follow-through by asking for bank details and Social Security numbers.
- To avoid these scams, be on alert for anyone asking for banking and personal information that can lead to financial identity theft.
- If anyone believes they are a victim of a COVID-19 lottery or sweepstakes scam, they can contact the ITRC toll-free by phone (888.400.5530) or live-chat. Just go to www.idtheftcenter.org to get started.
Millions of U.S. residents have already received their COVID-19 vaccine and are automatically entered into their state’s lottery or sweepstakes program, which scammers are cashing in on as well. For example, California residents are reporting COVID-19 vaccine scams where criminals pose as government officials with fake notifications claiming they have won the lottery. The scammer then asks for personal or banking data to claim their prize.
Who are the Targets?
Residents of states with lotteries or other vaccination incentives; vaccine recipients
What is the Scam?
Criminals are posing as government officials and informing vaccine recipients they have won the lottery and ask for bank details and Social Security numbers.
What They Want
Scammers can use your banking information from these COVID-19 vaccine lottery scams to commit financial identity theft or sell your information to other cybercriminals. They are also looking to collect “lottery fees” upfront. Remember, you should never pay money to receive money especially in a contest, sweepstakes or lottery.
How to Avoid Being Scammed
- California and Colorado state residents 18 and older who receive the vaccine are automatically entered to win based on shot registration information and do not need to enter. However, Kentucky and Oregon residents must enter through the official website. Be sure to check with your state’s program on entering rules.
- If you are a lottery winner, you do not need to pay money or provide your banking information to claim your prize.
- Always go directly to the source to verify if the information is coming from a legitimate source. In this case, check with the Department of Public Health or lottery authority in your state.
- If you’ve received a phishing email, text or phone call, report it. You can report it to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint.
If anyone believes they are a victim of a COVID-19 lottery or sweepstakes scam, they can contact the ITRC toll-free by phone (888.400.5530) or live-chat. Just go to www.idtheftcenter.org to get started.